2018 Grateful 36

I spent a lot of time this week with my dad. Even after 50+ years of knowing him, he still has stuff to teach me. We went to visit his younger brother – there’s 13 months between them all. For him, time has taken on new meaning. He has something – dementia, Alzheimer’s – he’s lost his memory. We were chatting and he told me that he’d lost it. To which I found myself replying – Everything to you is new, wow. Every meal, every experience. Imagine tasting ice-cream for the first time, every day? But no, he said, it wasn’t the experiences that he’d forgotten, it was the names, the faces, the connections, the links. He’s 91 but he’s open to being any age.

While we were there, an elderly lady came and stood at the door. She was holding on to a baby doll, as if it were a real child. She remonstrated with us telling us to ‘be proper, be proper, be proper’. God only knows where the woman’s mind is. But no matter what they remember or don’t remember, that human contact seems all too important.

At the end of the second WLC week, my wellbeing was to make contact with three different people each day. You’d think that wouldn’t be a problem. Just fire off three emails or make three comments on FB or, God forbid, actually talk to three people. But it wasn’t simple enough to manage, to get the 35 points on offer for successful completion. I’ve noticed that I’m guarding my time, and being very careful whom I spend it with or on. I’m avoiding group meet-ups and parties, as energy is limited and I’m easily drained. And while I know that as a card-carrying introvert, my happy place is sparsely populated, the danger of retreating is all too real.

Reading Death on Demand recently, a cop novel by Jim Kelly,  Valentine had this to say: ‘You won’t know this yet but life stops when you’ve got no one to tell; no one to receive. We’re like radios, I think – transmitting and receiving, but if there’s just you, what’s the point?’

Last year, Joseph Lindoe opted to live alone in a flat for a week. He did this to highlight the loneliness that is rampant among the elderly. His account makes for interesting reading.

This is in the UK. And it’s a problem in Ireland, too. But here, there’s the added element of fear. Just yesterday, I heard of an elderly couple in the village who had moved in with their daughter because they were afraid to live alone. Not because they might fall or anything, but because they might be robbed and beaten up – in their own homes. This is a real fear. It happens. The elderly are being targeted. What sort of person could do this? I can’t begin to imagine.

One of the pluses, though, of having close neighbours, is that everyone watches out for each other. Remember the 1919 novel The Valley of the Squinting Windows? I used to hate that everyone knew everyone else’s business, but now that my parents are of an age, and I’m not always around, I’m very grateful that there are those who would notice if Mam didn’t show up for mass of a morning or if Boss wasn’t seen up the garden. It makes being at a distance that much easier.

Paradoxically, though, until himself came on a scene a few years back, I often thought that if I fell out of reach of a phone on a Wednesday afternoon, it would be a full week before anyone would notice I was missing. And a lot can happen in a week. Such is the plight of single people all over the world. Back in 2007, 44-year-old Sandra Drummond was found dead in her flat in Hulme, Manchester. She’d been dead for nearly a year and no one had missed her. Elizabeth Day, writing in The Guardian, described Sandra and her ilk as

modern-day Eleanor Rigbys who die with no friends or family to notice.

How sad is that? Young and old alike, those living on their own need to connect. And those of us who tend towards solitude, need to take care not to lose ourselves in it.

Wicklow Gap

Life in the passenger seat

American essayist Hamilton Wright Mabie said, ‘The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had the means, time, influence, and educational advantages, but what he will do with the things he has.’ My biggest challenge is what to do with my time. My influence (albeit limited) I use to good effect, likewise my education. But I’m very conscious of the fact that my time is limited and how I choose to spend what time I have is something that keeps me awake at night.

I was at the races this week with my dad. All my horses are still running; he didn’t bet at all. He went to see the regulars, those he would bump into every year at this annual meeting. He didn’t see anyone he knew. Me neither. But at least he didn’t lose any money. It was a good day, nonetheless. Yesterday he decided we’d go again today. And his reason – because we might not be around this time next year. And at 92, perhaps he has more reason than I do to suspect that this might be the case. But thankfully, he’s showing no signs of shrugging off his mortal coil just yet. Then the sun came out and mowing the grass took priority. I was just as happy.

Yesterday, we went to visit his brother over in Greystones. Coming back, we were in danger of hitting rush hour on a Friday evening. I checked and saw a couple of accidents on the M50 that added 40 minutes to our 50-minute journey. So the choice was there: go sit in traffic or take the two hours needed to go the road less travelled. I’ve had my fill of crowds and traffic and have vague memories of driving through the Sally Gap and the Wicklow Gap at various stages in my childhood as we went to visit cousins in Wicklow town, so we took that option. In another month or so, this road will be choked with tour buses. It’s a popular route with St Kevin’s Way and the Sugarloaf in the vicinity offering hikes and climbs for the fitter, more adventurous walker. We passed a handful of cars. I resisted the temptation to put the foot down and let my inner Rosemary Smith run loose. It was the first time, Boss said, that he’d been in the passenger seat driving this road, a road he’s driven hundreds of times, and he was taking the time to see it all.

There’s a lesson there for me, too. I’m a poor passenger, preferring to have control rather than to be at the mercy of another. But how much do I miss? I wonder.

 

Wicklow Gap

 

2018 Grateful 37

I set my alarm to snooze so I can enjoy having a lie in. Madness, really. I should just wake and get up. No dithering, or luxuriating, or procrastinating. Just up and at it. And maybe 2 out of 7 mornings in a given week, I might do this. Perhaps one morning a fortnight I’m awake when I wake up and have time to think about what I might to that day. And those days are usually better days. I get things accomplished. I get to the end of the day and look back and feel I did something. But they’re few and far between. I’m more likely to dive in and then fly around like a one-winged wasp trying to do too much and not getting a lot done.

I’ve been getting better lately, ever since I discovered that the calendar on my phone syncs with that on my laptop. And everything I want to remember to do goes in the calendar, so much so that if it’s not there, it doesn’t get done. I had a minor meltdown a few weeks back  – I had four things to do one day and only wrote down three of them so one didn’t get done – to pick up a bench-cushion I was having covered. But I had the time to do it, and I was minutes from where I needed to be for a good hour with nothing else to do. But I didn’t remember until after the place had closed. Unfortunately, I was on the metro when it dawned on me and the carriage got to witness my ranting self-beratement as I called myself every name under the sun. It was irrational, I know. But hey, I’m of an age.

I mentioned last week that I was doing this six-week WLC challenge. And this week, part of the challenge was to write down each morning one thing that would give a sense of accomplishment to my day. Okay, okay. Be sceptical. I was. But you know, something happened this week.

On Day 1, I wrote that my measure of success for that day would be if I turned up at the anti-government protest scheduled for 5pm. I’m not a great one for large crowds anyway, but I have just enough paranoia to fear the consequences of being caught on camera with face-identification tools readily available. I spoken to a few prominent business men who because they’re responsible for hundreds of employees, cannot show up and risk being caught on camera for fear of the consequences. I’ve heard stories of visits paid requesting passports in the aftermath of simply signing petitions. And while I know I have sod all to hide and my legal status isn’t in question, my trust levels in those who rule are in the minus figures. There’s nothing I’d put past them. And I have to wonder if that’s a healthy environment in which to live and if, deep down, it’s somehow leaving its mark upon my soul. The first time I rallied was when the Hare Krishnas were removed from the register of religious organisations and their lands were in danger of being commandeered by the state. That was back in 2011. I did show up at the one against Internet Tax and perhaps got caught up in another about education reform. But that was accidental. On Saturday, though, it was something I wanted to do. It was frightening and heartening at the same time.

Day 2 was more mundane – I had two papers to get off my desk and a mountain of bills to pay, but I also wanted to play. So I played first and paid second, so not my usual order of things, but it worked.

On Day 3, my measure of success was whether I managed to clear airport security with half a dozen champagne flutes in my carry-on bag. The Internet, as usual, answered whichever way I wanted it to answer, depending on which page I read. I decided to chance it – and pray for the best. My bag was sidelined and I had a moment or seven of doubt, but it wasn’t for a search, just a swab. Nice.

Day 4 was about logistics. I wanted to get to Dublin airport on time. Time is always tight on this particular journey and if there’s an accident on the M50, I’m screwed. It’s a toss up. The oncoming traffic was at a crawl because of a fender bender. Then the motorway displays showed an accident after J4. I needed J5. But J4 was clear and the backdoor worked.

On Day 5, I had to make up my mind whether to buy a rather expensive lamp I’d spotted the previous week in an antique shop. I wanted to feel good about it and not berate myself afterwards. But I also didn’t want to waste money. I have enough stuff. Did I really need more? Then the inimitable SR told me that I’d spend the money anyway, but if I bought the lamp, I’d have something to take pleasure in. I bought with a clear conscience and yer man even knocked off a few thousand … forints, that is.

Day 6 was about resisting the temptation to stay up half the night watching a series I’m hooked on. I only watch it in the village so I had to figure out a way to just watch one episode. But if I wanted to be up early in the morning and get my hours in, then one was all I had time for. I resisted temptation.

On Day 7, the weed-ridden garden path was my daily project and although my fingers were sore and my back was screaming, I had a chicken for company so I persevered.

None of these actions in and of themselves will radically change my world. Granted, adjusting what I eat and how much water I drink and how much sleep I get will rock it one way or another. But what struck me most from this week-long exercise in self-discipline is the power of mindfulness. It was sobering how many times I caught myself mindlessly reaching for a biscuit or a beer or a slice of bread. It was sobering to see how often I disregarded what my body was telling me. And it was heartening to sit back at the end of Week 1, lighter in body and spirit. And for this I’m grateful.

A new addition to the family

The Cold War between us and her-next-door has warmed to tepid. The unintended insult that went with us putting up a fence behind the cherry tree so that I could sit, undisturbed, by the ministrations of our very chatty neighbour has all but been forgotten. When we see each other, we chat. But we don’t go seeking out each other’s company. I value my privacy and my downtime too much to want to have it constantly interrupted, no matter how well-meaning or nice the interrupter is.

She keeps chickens. I’m sure each of them has a name and all of them are well looked after. They roam her garden with abandon and seem to be happy little things. But her garden is brown compared to the luscious green of ours. One particular chicken has taken a shine to Himself, walking up and down the fence on the other side keeping pace with the lawnmower and then peering through to the wire to inspect the finished result, clucking in appreciation if it passes muster.

This same chicken popped over one day and walked through the house, and took a good look around. When she went out onto the terrace, she stopped, laid an egg in the bush at the bottom of the steps, and then went home. A house-warming present with a difference.

Lately though, she’s been popping over more often. She seems to prefer whatever she finds to eat in ours. We have plenty. And we’re happy to share. When her-next-door notices that one of her flock is missing, she lets herself in and takes her truant chicken home. Said chicken has even been lifted and passed back over the fence without a nip or a cluck.

As I was out weeding this morning, she kept me company. We chatted away, her in chicken, me in English with the occasional bit of Hungarian to see if it would get a different response. She’s definitely trilingual. She was doing her thing. I was doing mine. And there was plenty of room for both of us.

Recalibrating

At some stage in the last month or so, I decided that my life was way too complicated. I was wasting far too much time on stuff that was simply not important. I was doing things I didn’t want to do out of some misguided sense of obligation. Yes, I bear the burden of a Catholic convent-school education and all that comes with growing up in twentieth-century Ireland, but even by those measures, there was way too much should in my life and not nearly enough just because.

In recent weeks, I’ve been chipping away slowly at the yoke I’ve been lugging around. I’ve gone to ground. I’ve slept. I’ve taken the time I needed to figure out what’s real. I’ve realised that I’ve made my life what it is and that I can unmake it, too. The new recipe is one of simplicity. It’s slower, less anxious, more breathable. It involves fewer crowds and more one-on-ones.

And, as the universe is wont to do, today it chipped in with a few numbers of its own to show that I’m headed in the right direction.

My mate JP O’Malley, him who has a way with words, posted this earlier this morning:

Spring is wonderful. Continual bird song.The smell of fresh cut grass. Flowers blooming after a long hard Winter.
The sound of children playing.The eyes of beautiful women. Life emerging from the crevice of every street corner. Everything teeming with sunshine, possibility and hope.

Possibility. Hope. Two more ingredients to add to my recipe.

And then the inimitable Little John Nee, a man whose talent and heart I admire tremendously, took himself off to the forest and sang his way through the trees.

Just what I needed to add a lilt to my soul. Classic stuff. Thanks lads.

 

2018 Gratefuls 39 and 38

Sweet Mother of Divine Jesus, where is the year going to? About five times this week alone I’ve mentioned people in passing, only to add a caveat that I haven’t seen them so far in 2018. And it’s nearly May. Then, on the flip side, I’m planning on meeting people as far forward as next February. Something is a little skewed in my world. In an effort to take back some control, I decided to find some way of dragging out the next, say, six weeks. I wanted to mark each day with something solid. I could, of course, have set a goal of writing 500 words or walking 5km or avoiding carbs. But why be so easy on myself?

I’ve signed up for the WLC – and for some reason, I have real trouble remembering what WLC stands for. Let me check …. again. Yes, Whole Life Challenge. The marketing blurb certainly hits its target:

With just a nudge (and a little bit of effort), you can have the life you want — happy, healthy, active, energetic, and connected.
You can wake up every day excited for what’s ahead. The journey from here to there is not necessarily easy (but it is possible for anyone who is willing to commit to the effort).

It requires small steps, repeated time after time.
And it requires just a few habits. (We think 7.) And we won’t teach you those habits. Not exactly.

We’ll show them to you.
And you’ll decide, one by one, if they’re right for your life. And after the Challenge is over, you’ll choose for yourself — is this how you want to live?
Do you want to be rested and well-fed, active and limber, fit and hydrated, less stressed and more connected? We think you do.

And so we created the Whole Life Challenge. To help you get there.
Because ultimately, we believe in you — and in your power to change your life for the better.

They had me at rested. I’d like to wake up one morning and feel like I’ve had some sleep. Not too much to ask, is it? Anyway, I forked out my €49 and signed up. Starting today, and for the next six weeks, I have to develop these 7 habits and account for my actions. No matter that I’m the only person who will see the score, I’m competitive enough to make even that competitive. I could have joined a team, but I’m not in the mood to socialise.

I have to:

  • Be active for 10 minutes
  • Stretch for 10  minutes
  • Sleep for 7 hours (personal target – I’d prefer it to be 10 but I’m trying to be realistic)
  • Drink 64 oz of water (their calculation based on weight)

And here I hit a stumbler because my Ayurveda chap says I shouldn’t be drinking much water at all. And for every article on the web saying drink the damn stuff, another says don’t. But I’ll try and see….

  • Complete a practice to help me feel happier and more connected

Another stumbler…am not getting the connection between happiness and being connected… not these days… but will see

  • Reflect each day on how the day went – in writing
  • Eat food from my food list

I’m doing the kick-start programme (you get a choice of three levels) because I’m so bad. I got though one of the two pages of what I can eat before I hit a NO! and it all looks doable. And it doesn’t say anything about how big that one glass of wine can be. Relief. And there are bonus points, mulligans, rest days, and indulgence days. It’s a real game. And I’m playing all by myself.

Although I detest exercise, can’t be arsed stretching, don’t like watching what I eat, prefer wine to water, and am not in the mood to be connected, I’m feeling rather pumped about all of this. It will certainly mark my days and perhaps even slow down time a little. And for this, I’d be doubly grateful.

 

The politics of decency

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. Those aren’t my words; George Orwell wrote them back in 1941 in his book All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays.

Fast forward 77 years and Hungary has just come through another general election. In the lead-up to it, the media was full of who said what and when and about whom. Accusations and half-truths were flying around like missiles seeking a target. The opposition was scrambling to put aside their differences, and their egos, and reach some sort of agreement to present a united front to the voters on 8 April. Memories of events and incidents long past resurfaced. Old grudges gained new ground, ignoring the entreaty of former US President John F. Kennedy who urged Americans back in 1958 not to ‘seek to fix the blame for the past’ but instead to ‘accept [their] own responsibility for the future. In other words, it was business as usual.

For a foreigner with minimal Hungarian, my knowledge of what’s going on is limited to the English-speaking press or at the mercy of Google translation. Asking Hungarian friends for their take on specific happenings helps to a point, if I remember that they’re seeing things through the prism of their own experiences. My struggle to find truth amidst the deluge of information available is a difficult one and as I don’t have a vote, perhaps it’s all a moot point anyway. But when I have an opinion, I like it to be an informed one. And I like to know what’s going on.

Specifics aside, I find myself wondering about politics and politicians, about why we vote into power those we do or worse still why we don’t bother voting at all. I’m spending a lot of time considering the traits I’d like to see in my ideal politician, how I’d want them to behave, what I’d like them to do. And perhaps the day will come when we can have our politicians made to measure – in the meantime I can but dream.

Back in 1948, Herbert Hoover, in his remarks to Wilmington College in Ohio, noted:

It is a curious fact that when we get sick, we want an uncommon doctor; if we have a construction job, we want an uncommon engineer; when we get into war, we dreadfully want an uncommon admiral and an uncommon general. Only when we get into politics are we content with the common man.

And while I might want the leader of my constituency or indeed my country to be an ‘uncommon politician’, I can’t decide if I’d like them to be a man or a woman, or if it matters.

The Internet is littered with studies and reports drawing a (spurious?) correlation with the number of women on the board or in leadership positions with a company’s financial and other successes. Adjectives such as empathetic, ethical, and honest are prefaced with ‘more’ when it comes to describing women in leadership roles. Okay, findings can be massaged and for every report showing a correlation, another refutes it. But is there an added dimension that women bring to politics? Benazir Bhutto said that when she entered politics, she brought another dimension to the table – that of a mother. I think of the women leaders I know and am not at all sure that I see that maternalism in their politics, be they national, international, or corporate.

Before dipping my toe in the pool of diplomacy, I’d have argued long and hard that I wanted the leader of my country to be honest, always, all the time, no matter the cost. I know better now. Former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski gave a keynote speech back in 2002 at the Morality and Politics conference in Vienna. Entitled Is Honest Politics Possible?, the keynote explores the place of honesty in politics and defines an honest politician as

Someone who regards politics as a tool for achieving the common good. He is not naive, and knows that patience, compromise, and a policy of small steps are often needed. Yet in pursuing partial goals he will not lose sight of higher objectives.

This perhaps I could live with. As long, of course, as those higher objectives were for the greater good. I don’t want to be lied to, but sometimes ambiguity has its place. And anyway, in this day and age, the definition of truth is blurred to the point that it can almost mean whatever you want to mean.

When it comes to describing a good politician in a democratic society, adjectives abound. We want our politicians to be accessible, believable, compassionate, decisive, ethical, faithful, generous, humble, intelligent, jovial, keen, law-abiding, managerial, nuanced, open, pragmatic, questioning, reliable, sincere, trustworthy, utilitarian, veracious, worthy, xenial, youthful, and zealous. No tall order there! We want them to inspire hope, to offer security, make our worlds better. We want them to practice what they preach, to advance our cause, and to take care of the less fortunate. We want them to have a lived a blemish-free life. We expect either too much of them or not enough. We blame them for working the system while we do the same ourselves, albeit on a much smaller scale. We set them up to fail and when they do, we complain, loudly, at their shortcomings.

After much consideration, I’ve decided that Theodore Roosevelt, had it right when he said in his remarks to Harvard and Yale undergraduates invited to Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, Long Island, June 1901: the most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency. Decency. That’s what I want. I want my politicians, my leaders, my guardians of tomorrow – I want them to behave decently at all times. Is that too much to ask?

First published in the Budapest Times 13 April 2018

In a state of shock on Mars

I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect this. And when I read today in the Hungarian Spectrum that a ruling politician had declared that “our goal is to achieve a stable, absolute majority with 100 seats to establish a government. Above that number every seat is only a gift, a sign of the voters’ trust,” I had to wonder. A two-thirds majority was some gift indeed. I’m deflated. Completely deflated. Friends who voted spoke of the palpable excitement and anticipation of change at the polling booths. The other guys were being better people and standing down in favour of stronger counterparts. It seemed as if the planets were aligning and while I never thought that the 100 seats would not be achieved, I was sure the other guys would fare better. But I was wrong.

I dug out this poem I’d read last year in the aftermath of another disappointing election – and it just about sums it up for me.

An Election Tale: A Poem By Tarik Günersel

Once upon a time, on Mars,
an election took place –a farce:

A profit promising guy was promoted
for imperial goals; twice his followers voted.

The Electoral Board: “It’s been a good race;
here’s the official result we realistically face:

A post-modern synthesis of kingdom and republic.
Despite infidels, God’s Law conquers the public.

We proudly present this legal innovation,
which is naturally the best for our obedient nation.”

Thus the selected leader declared “Victory!”
A journalist dared to ask: “Is justice history?”

Public reaction was professionally tested;
“Fraud!” –some opponents protested:

“Booo! Look at the voting lists: We’re excluded,
but some dead were secretly included!”

On TV, the financed misleader announced:
“All those traitors must be denounced!

Evil circles keep sponsoring their acts,
I speak the truth, supported by alternative facts.

In our new democracy, which patriots promote,
dead citizens can also vote

as the revival of our passified [sic] nation.
Down with foreign agents! We need fair aggression!

I do have an idea about sports:
Attack is the best defense, as echoed in the courts.

My leadership proves that ‘evolution’ is wrong.
To my faith in God your lives now belong.”

All such stuff was not without reaction;
some with conscience attempted action:

Two girls, on hunger strike, stood up
and were given free poison in a cup.

A few more utopian objecters [sic] joined in the story
for a happy ending –a deserved glory:

“It’s high time for a revolution
for Martian rights, devolution!”

The outcome on Mars remains unknown,
but your life on Earth is a path of your own.

No gods can build a future for you.
No solution can rise out of the blue.

 

Moving on…

My mates in Hawaii are selling up. After years of procrastinating, they’ve peeled the pineapple, parlayed the papaya and put their place on the market. I saw the advertisement online today. and as I read the agent’s blurb, it struck me how difficult it is to capture the essence of a place with measurements and matrices, limited by a character count and legal requirements. I’ve visited them on the big island a number of times – and each time I was met at the airport with a fresh plumeria lai. The scented flower necklace shut the door on the world I’d left behind and opened the door to Hawaiian hospitality.I can smell it now.

When we drove back to their house in Captain Cook on my first post-purchase visit, navigating the steep incline the road takes into the sub-division that is so aptly named Kona Paradise, I wondered how they managed in the snow. And then I remembered where I was. We parked above the house – level ground thankfully – and looked down on it, perched on the edge of a steep slope, overlooking the huge expanse of water that is a schooling ground for whales, a glass receptacle for the setting sun, and a vast nothingness in which to lose yourself, especially when it storms. Watching S lug my bags down those steps, I wondered how they managed with groceries. But then I came to see the stairs as they do – a homemade gym – daily exercise that doesn’t count as a regime and yet does the business. Sculpted and toned all the way.

My first impression of the house was one of openness – floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the water safeguarded a comfortable, roomy interior with a great kitchen and fab living space. My second was one of airiness. My mind flooded with descriptives of all sorts and I settled on balmy. If a house could have a climate, their’s would be balmy. My third was what the inimitable Peg Ludtke blogged about today – the Danish concept of Hygge.

It is pronounced hoo-ga and it is a Danish word that doesn’t translate exactly but comes closest to meaning coziness, or comfort. The Danes have a whole lifestyle and philosophy and have been identified as the happiest people in the world because of it.

The downstairs space was one I secretly coveted, but their son was living there at the time. The cool, expansive living room is a perfect respite from the hot weather and where I imagined I could write my book or learn to bead or watch movies or simply sit and while away the hours between dusk and dawn. It has such a good vibe to it. It’s like a house within a house. And the bedroom – well, imagine waking up to this view every morning?

But my favourite place was the corner of the lanai. It was where I had my morning coffee and my evening cocktail. It was where we righted the world’s wrongs. It was where we planned the days ahead and revisited the days gone by. We laughed, we cried, we laughed and cried at the same time. Oh, I have so many happy memories of that house, of the time I spent there. I still remember the joy of picking a lime from their tree for my G&T and tasting a fresh avocado or pomegranate that had ripened in their back yard. And realising that the tropical fruit I was used to eating had most likely ripened in the shipping containers en route from Hawaii. I’d sit there wondering whether it was quite warm enough to walk down the hill to the black pebble beach at the bottom of the sub-division, or whether I’d drive to any one of the myriad beaches on the island. Nothing like having a choice.

And while I doubt I could ever live in Hawaii full-time – I prefer the cold weather and I’d get island fever – had I all the money in the world, I’d buy this house in a heartbeat. I’m going to miss it. 

2018 Grateful 40

Is the grass always greener on the other side or is it greener where you water it? I find myself occasionally coveting a way of life and perhaps a piece of furniture and maybe sometimes, in a restaurant, I have plate envy. Then I think of those who’ve said they envy my life, my faith, my situation. And while I’m in it, living it, it doesn’t seem all that remarkable. But when I take the time to stop and think and appreciate it all, and see that I only need one hand to count my regrets, then I realise I’m blessed. Bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs aside, whatever your faith, whomever you look to when things go pear-shaped … Kellemes Húsvéti Ünnepeket. Happy Easter.

Am grateful. Period.